Delhi pogrom: Letter to President seeks commission of inquiry on police investigation

Group of retired bureaucrats and eminent academicians sign letter to President of India seeking a commission of inquiry into the manner of investigation of 2020 Delhi pogrom. The letter, citing various reports says the ongoing probe ‘does not inspire confidence’.

The letter is endorsed by 72 personals including former government officials. academicians and activists.

Many rights’ group have already flagged the bias of police investigation which weigh in implicating the anti-CAA protest reason for rioting and violence. Delhi Police have openly defended BJP leaders who were named in several complaints about leading violent groups.

The letter calls upon ‘ the Government of India to institute an inquiry into this investigation under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, by appointing sitting/retired judge(s) of the higher judiciary.’

A. Selvaraj, IRS (Retd.), Former Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chennai, GoI, Abhijit Sengupta, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, Aditi Mehta, IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan, Alok Perti, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI, are among the signatories.

Police complicity in violence

The letter expresses extreme concern over the role of police during the pogrom which took at least 53 lives. The letter refers to the infamous video of uniformed policemen assaulting injured Muslim youth lying forcing them to sing the national anthem and repeatedly beating them with lathis to understand the biases of police. One of the men, 23-year-old Faizan succumbed to his injuries a few days later.

The FIR registered by the Bhajanpura Police station makes no mention of the clearly documented video footage of the police assaulting Faizan and the Delhi police have not named any policemen as accused in the case.

Several accounts and videos have emerged of police allegedly being complicit in the violence, directing mobs pelting stones or looking the other way when mobs were indulging in violence in front of them. The letter details the actions and inaction of the police during the violence which shows their partisan attitude.

Partiality of the probe

The letter condemns the attitude of police against the dissenters and students who are booked under bogus charges under police narration and no evidence of participation in violence.

Despite the passage of more than 4 months, no FIR has been registered BJP leaders. In fact, the Delhi Police appear to have not even acted against the DCP who mutely stood next to a BJP leader who was instigating violence against the protestors warning them that if they did not vacate the area, he would do it himself – letter reads.

FIR 59 of 2020 registered by the Crime Branch police station in Delhi on March 6, 2020, investigating the ‘conspiracy’ has been used to carry out a fishing and roving inquiry against young persons including students and social activists who were involved with the protests, says the letter.

Several stringent sections, including those under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), have been added to this FIR.

The letter also condemns the hypocrisy of police in naming activists who are not accused in charge sheet tampering the chronology of events.

” With serious allegations against several senior police officials, of being complicit in the violence or assisting the mobs or standing mutely and watching the violence, there is bound to be a perception that the agency is shielding its own”.